Turbo Geth: A Software To Help Ethereum With The Scaling Issue
Like other public blockchains, ethereum intends to support as many users as it can. The problem is that today, we don't really know the limits of the platform. Because of a hard-coded limit on computation per block, the ethereum blockchain currently supports roughly 15 transactions per second compared to, say, the 45,000 processed by Visa.
This limitation of ethereum and other blockchain systems has long been the subject of discussion by developers and academics.
Turbo Geth seems to have figured out the solution to this problem. The raw architecture of Turbo Geth has been developed — and is currently available to early adopters for trial. Alexey Akhunov, the individualistic software developer that built the software, said that unlike many other scaling solutions, Turbo Geth looks at tackling ethereum's so-called state, rather than transaction congestion and costs.
The term “state” in this context describes the every-increasing history of all computations of the network. By rewriting Geth, the Ethereum Foundation's in-house software for interacting with the blockchain, Akhunov said, he's cut storage down to one-fifth its current size.
This strategy enables ethereum nodes to run on cheaper hardware. What's more, it's something that many in the ethereum community are enthusiastic about because less expensive hardware helps keep the network decentralized.
“We probably can go 10x just from optimizations,”
Akhunov said on a scalability panel during the ethereum conference Dappcon in Berlin this summer.
Implying code improvements that could streamline ethereum – before it updates to scaling tech sharding – the statement was welcomed with much acclaim. It aligns with the prospect many in the industry feel for Akhunov's work, heralded as one of ethereum's most promising scaling solutions.
Lot More Improvement Required
And while there's still work to be done — Turbo Geth lacks many of the features users expect from a fully-functional client currently — Akhunov believes the software will inspire others to take similarly experimental approaches to design.
In addition to lacking a user-friendly interface, Turbo Geth would take about two weeks in order to sync with the blockchain. As such, Akhunov said Turbo Geth will need to add support for a feature that cuts synchronization time by allowing clients to link up with screenshots provided by other archive nodes.
To build the client, Akhunov received financial support from the Ethereum Foundation and Infura, the ConsenSys-led provider of software that allows decentralized applications to interface with ethereum in a lightweight way. Moving forward, however, the developer envisions handing the Turbo Geth project over to a committed team so that he can continue his research into ethereum scalability.
Still, for Akhunov, Turbo Geth doesn't quite fulfill his vision for a fully scalable ethereum. While the storage enhancements are substantial, he said:
“When I started working on Turbo Geth I made an assumption that the bottleneck is of the ethereum client is mostly its access to the state, which was true to a certain extent, but it's not 100 percent. I have changed my point of view slightly since then.”
In the future, Akhunov wants to dig deeper into how clients function — not just at the level of individual software, such as Geth and Parity, but how combinations of software intercommunicate. The developer said he'd like to dedicate his time to studying the ethereum network and observing client interoperability issues in order to better understand where the scalability bottleneck is occurring.